Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30069
Influence of Maturation Degree of Arbutus (Arbutus unedo L.) Fruits in Spirit Composition and Quality

Authors: Goreti Botelho, Filomena Gomes, Fernanda M. Ferreira, Ilda Caldeira


The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) is a small tree or shrub from botanical Ericaceae family that grows spontaneously nearby the Mediterranean basin and produce edible red fruits. A traditional processed fruit application, in Mediterranean countries, is the production of a spirit (known as aguardente de medronho, in Portugal) obtained from the fermented fruit. The main objective of our study was to contribute to the knowledge about the influence of the degree of maturation of fruits in the volatile composition and quality of arbutus spirit. The major volatiles in the three distillates fractions (head, heart and tail) obtained from fermentation of two different fruit maturation levels were quantified by GC-FID analysis and ANOVA one-way was performed. Additionally, the total antioxidant capacity and total phenolic compounds of both arbutus fruit spirits were determined, by ABTS and Folin-Ciocalteau method, respectively. The methanol concentration is higher (1022.39 g/hL a.a.) in the spirit made from fruits with highest total soluble solids, which is a value above the legal limit (1000 g/hL a.a.). Overall, our study emphasizes, for the first time, the influence of maturation degree of arbutus fruits in the spirit volatile composition and quality.

Keywords: Arbutus fruit, maturation, quality, spirit.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF


[1] E. H. Soufleros, S. A. Mygdalia, and P. Natskoulis, “Production process and characterization of the traditional Greek fruit distillate “Koumaro” by aromatic and mineral composition”. Journal of Food Composition Analysis vol. 18, pp. 699–716, 2005.
[2] L. R. Galego, A. N. Martins, and V. R. Almeida, “Valorização da Aguardente de Medronho - Estudo do Processo Tecnológico”. Proceedings of VIII Congresso do Algarve, Vilamoura, 1995.
[3] M. Alarcão-e-Silva, A. E. B. Leitão, H. G. Azinheira, and M. C. A. Leitão, “The Arbutus Berry: Studies on its color and chemical characteristics at two mature stages”. Journal of Food Composition Analysis vol. 14 pp. 27–35, 2001.
[4] F. A. Ayaz, M. Kucukislamoglu, and M. Reunanen, “Sugar, non-volatile and phenolic acids composition of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L. var. ellipsoidea) fruits”. Journal of Food Composition Analysis vol. 13 pp. 171–177, 2000.
[5] K. Pallauf, J. C. Rivas-Gonzalo, M. D. del Castillo, M. P. Cano, and S. Pascual-Teresa, “Characterization of the antioxidant composition of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) fruits”. Journal of Food Composition Analysis vol. 21 pp. 273–281, 2008.
[6] A. M. Pawlowska, M. De Leo, and A. Braca, “Phenolics of Arbutus unedo L. (Ericaceae) fruits: identification of anthocyanins and gallic acid derivatives”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry vol. 54 pp. 10234–10238, 2006.
[7] B. M. Ruiz-Rodríguez, P. Morales, V. Fernández-Ruiz, M.C. Sanchez- Mata, M Cámara, and C. Díez-Marqués, “Valorization of wild strawberry-tree fruits (Arbutus unedo L.) through nutritional assessment and natural production data”. Food Research International vol. 44 pp. 1244-1253, 2011.
[8] M. Simonetti, F. Damiani, L. Gabrielli, L. Cossignani, F. Blasi, and F. Marini, “Characterization of triacylglycerols in Arbutus unedo L. Seeds”. Italian Journal of Food Science vol. 20 pp. 49-56, 2008.
[9] T. Cavaco, C. Longuinho, C. Quintas, and I.S. de Carvalho, “Chemical and microbial changes during the natural fermentation of strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) fruits”. Journal of Food Biochemistry vol. 31 pp. 715-725, 2007.
[10] R. Morales, “El madroño y sus usos. Plantas y cultura popular: La etnobotánica en España”. Quercus vol. 12 pp.8-10, 1995.
[11] G. Versini, R. Seeber, A. D. Serra, G. Sferlazzo, J. H. B. Carvalho, and F. Reniero, “Aroma compounds of Arbutus distillates”. In: Charalambous G. (Ed.). Food flavors: Generation, Analysis and Process Influence, Elsevier Science, London; pp. 1779-1790, 1995.
[12] Decree-Law nº. 238/2000 de 26 de Setembro. Diário da República I série A, Imprensa Nacional 223 pp. 5145-5147, 2000.
[13] OIV. Compendium of International Methods of Spirituous Beverages of Vitivinicultural Origin. OIV, Paris, 2014.
[14] N. Miller, and C. Rice-Evans, “Factors influencing the antioxidant activity determined by the ABTS radical cation assay”. Free Radical Research vol. 26 pp. 195-199, 1997.
[15] C. Santos, G. Botelho, I. Caldeira, A. Torres, and F. M. Ferreira, “Antioxidant activity assessment in fruit liquors and spirits: methods comparison”. Ciência Técnica Vitivinícola vol. 29 pp. 28-34, 2014.
[16] V. L. Singleton, and J. A. Rossi, “Colorimetry of total phenolics with phosphomolybdic-phosphotungstic acid reagents”. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture vol. 16 pp. 144-158, 1965.
[17] Regulation EC nº 110/2008 of the European parliament and of the council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 Official Journal of the European Communities vol. L39, pp. 16-54, 2008.
[18] A. Luís, D. Mota, O. Anjos, and I. Caldeira, “Single-laboratory validation of determination of acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, metanol and fusel alcohols in wine spirits, brandies and grape marc spirits using GCFID”. Ciência Técnica Vitivinícola vol. 26 pp. 69-76, 2011.
[19] C. Da Porto, “Grappa and grape-spirit production”. Critical Reviews in Biotechnology vol. 18 pp. 13-24, 1998.
[20] M. L. Silva, and F. X. Malcata, “Relationships between storage conditions of grape pomace and volatile composition of spirit obtained thereform”. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture vol. 49 pp. 56- 64, 1998.
[21] M. L. Silva, and F. X. Malcata, “Effects of time of grape pomace fermentation and distillation cuts on the chemical composition of grape marcs”. Zeitschrift für Lebensmittel Untersuchung und Forschung A vol. 208 pp. 134-143, 1999.
[22] M. L.Silva, F. X. Malcata, and G. Revel, “Volatile Contents of Grappe Marcs in Portugal”. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis vol. 9 pp. 72-80, 1996.
[23] C. B. Watkins, J. F. Nock, and B. D. Whitaker, “Responses of early, mid and late season apple cultivars to postharvest application of 1- methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) under air and controlled atmosphere storage conditions”. Phostharvest Biology and Technology vol.19 pp. 17-32, 2000.
[24] C. P. Zaldivar, J. B. Abda, S. E. Ebeler, and A. A. Kader, “Quality and chemical changes associated with flavor of camarosa strawberries in response to a CO2 enriched atmosphere”. Hortscience vol. 42 pp. 299- 303, 2007.
[25] L. Taiz, and E. Zeiger, “Fisiologia vegetal”. 3ª Edição, Artmed, Porto Alegre, 2004.
[26] L. Nykänen, and H. Suomalainen, “Aroma of beer, wine and distilled alcoholic beverages”. D. Reidel Pulbishing Company, Dordrecht, 1983.
[27] G. H. Reazin, S. Baldwin, H. S. Scales, H. W. Washington, and A. A. Andreasen, “Determination of the congeners produced from ethanol during whisky maturation”. Journal of AOAC vol. 59 pp. 770-776, 1976.
[28] I. Caldeira, S. Canas, S. Costa, E. Carvalho, and A. P. Belchior, “Formação de uma câmara de prova organoléptica de aguardentes velhas e selecção de descritores sensoriais”. Ciência Técnica Vitivinícola vol. 14 pp. 21-30, 1999.
[29] A. M. Vera-Guzmán, R. I. Guzmán-Geronimo, and M. G. López, “Major and minor compounds in a Mexican spirit, young mezcal coming from two Agave Species”. Czech Journal of Food Science vol. 28 pp. 127- 132, 2010.
[30] P. Ribéreau-Gayon, D. Dubourdieu, B. Donèche, and A. Lonvaud, “Traité d'Oenologie - Microbiologie du vin. Vinifications”. Editions Dunod, Paris, 1998.
[31] L. Galego, “Traditional algarvian distillats and liqueurs historic scientific aspects”. Conference Proceedings of Traditional Food Processing and Technological Innovation in Peripheral Regions. Faro, 2006.
[32] D. M. C. E. Santo, “Controlo e análise do processo de produção de Aguardente de Medronho na Serra do Caldeirão”. Dissertação de Mestrado. Instituto Superior de Engenharia, Universidade do Algarve. Faro, 2010.
[33] L. R. Galego, “Optimização de parâmetros para a aguardente de medronho”. Dissertação de Mestrado. Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Lisboa, 1995.
[34] C. Bauer-Christoph, H. Wachter, N. Christoph, A. Roßmann, and L. Adam, “Assignment of raw material and authentication of spirits by gas chromatography, hydrogen- and carbon-isotope ratio measurements”. Zeitschrift fur Lebensmittel Untersuchung und Forschung A vol. 204 pp. 445-452, 1997.
[35] V. Ferreira, P. Hernández-Orte, A. Escudeiro, R. López, and J. Cacho, “Semipreparative reserved-phase liquid chromatographic fractionation of aroma extracts from wine and other alcoholic beverages”. Journal of Chromatography A vol. 864 pp. 77-78. 1999.
[36] I. Caldeira, R. Bruno-de-Sousa, A. P. Belchior and M. C. Clímaco, “A sensory and chemical approach to the aroma of wooden aged Lourinhã wine brandy”. Ciência Técnica Vitivinícola vol. 23 pp. 97-110, 2008.
[37] L. Nykänen, and I. Nykänen, Distilled beverages. Volatile compounds in food and beverages. Marcell Dekker Inc., New York, 1991.
[38] T. M. G. Cavaco, “Caracterização química e bioquímica dos frutos de “Arbutus unedo L.” e de “Rubus fruticosus Agg.” - Contribuição para a sua valorização”. Dissertação de Mestrado. Faculdade de Engenharia de Recursos Naturais, Universidade do Algarve, Faro, 2007.
[39] D. E. Santo, L. Galego, T. Gonçalves, and C. Quintas, “Yeast diversity in the Mediterranean strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) fruits' fermentations”. Food Research International vol. 47 pp. 45–50, 2012.
[40] L. Galego, and V. Almeida, “Aguardente de frutos e licores do Algarve. História, técnica de produção e legislação”. 1ª Edição, Edições Colibri, Lisboa, 2007.
[41] F. M. Abdoul-Latif, R. G. Bayili, L-C. Obame, I. H. N Bassolé, and M. Dicko, “Comparison of phenolic compounds and antioxidant capacities of traditional sorghum beers with other alcoholic beverages”. African Journal of Biotechnology vol. 81 pp.14671-14678, 2012.
[42] S. Canas, V. Casanova, and A. P. Belchior, “Antioxidant activity and phenolic content of Portuguese wine aged brandies”. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis vol. 21 pp.626-633, 2008.
[43] S. Dudonné, X. Vitrac, P. Coutière, M. Woillez, and J. M. Mérillon, “Comparative study of antioxidant properties and total phenolic content of 30 plant extracts of industrial interest using DPPH, ABTS, FRAP, SOD, and ORAC assays”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry vol. 57 pp. 1768–1774, 2009.
[44] A. Floegel, D-O. Kim, S-J. Chung, S. I. Koo, and O. K. Chun, “Comparison of ABTS/DPPH assays to measure antioxidant capacity in popular antioxidant-rich US foods”. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis vol. 24 pp. 1043-1048, 2011.
[45] S. Gorinstein, R. Haruenkit, S. Poovarodom, S. Vearasilp, P. Ruamsuke, J. Namiesnik, M. Leontowicz, H. Leontowicz, M. Suhaj, and G. P Sheng, “Some analytical assays for the determination of bioactivity of exotic fruits”. Phytochemical Analysis vol. 21 pp. 355–362, 2010.